UPDATED: The "Conversation With the CW" April 18 was just that -- a presentation from Mark Pedowitz, who took over as CW president nearly a year ago, along with COO John Maatta and executive VP of distribution Elizabeth Tumulty, among others, and then a forum for affiliates to fire questions at the CW brass.
Pedowitz said The CW is providing an additional 50 hours of programming this year, compared to last year. That includes the network's first true summer slate of four reality programs.
Affiliates got a peek at eight drama pilots, including the Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, superhero drama Green Arrow and Hunger Games-inspired The Selection.
With the network's younger, tech-savvy viewers, the matter of digital initiatives, involving Netflix, Hulu, next-day streaming and social media, was also discussed. One question focused on viewers being able to stream episodes the day after they debut, and one attendee said the network promised to look into having the affiliates share streaming responsibilities on their own sites with the network.
The mood in the room was positive, with Pedowitz imploring the affiliates for more questions and feedback after an initial four or five. "Mark and his team were really in sync and in control while presenting a great overall short and long-term strategy," said one affiliate exec who preferred to not be named. "I left the room excited for upfronts."
Affiliates were particularly fond of the summer slate. "We said in the past, The CW turns the lights off in the third week of May," said Shawn Harris, vice president and general manager of WJZY Charlotte. "That's not the case anymore. With Pedowitz, it's nice to have someone looking at The CW as a real network."